One of the unfortunate realities of life for all dog owners is that almost every dog will develop arthritis to some extent as it gets older. Dog joint disease is an extremely common problem in all breeds of dogs. Although large dogs suffer from this disease to a greater extent than do smaller breed dogs, it is an affliction that virtually all canines have somewhat in their later years.
One of most crucial things to understand about arthritis and dog joint health, in general, is that the weight of the animal has a tremendous impact on how severe the symptoms will be from the disease. Heavier dogs, whether that extra weight comes from the fact they are a big breed dog, or for reasons that they are simply overweight suffer greatly as the diseased joints are put under greater stress due to the added weight.
Therefore, all pet owners must understand that keeping their animals fit and trim is one of their greatest responsibilities on ensuring proper joint health in their animals. Just as with people, it becomes more and more difficult to keep the extra weight off of animals as they age.
Senior dogs have a lower metabolism than they did when they were younger. Therefore, it requires less food to maintain the same body weight. It may be difficult to put your older dog on a diet, but it’s extremely vital to understand the health impact the extra weight has on him or her.
Another crucial activity pet owners can do to alleviate some of the symptoms and pain from joint arthritis is giving their animal proper amounts of exercise. If too little exercise is provided, then the muscles become weak and allow the joints to become unstable. This causes the animal even more pain due to the arthritis disease inside the joints. When the proper amount of exercise is provided to dogs, their muscles respond well to provide support to the joints. This keeps them from moving in ways they should not and thus minimizes the pain and impact of joint arthritis.
Lastly, most veterinarians nowadays suggest giving dogs with osteoarthritis a supplement product called glucosamine, sometimes with MSM added. This product does not simply mask or hide the pain as do its prescription counterparts. Instead, the supplement rebuilds and regenerates the damaged tissue within the joints that arthritis in fact causes. This rebuilding process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months before benefits are seen in the animal.
It’s very important that once the supplementation process using glucosamine begins, that pet owners continue the process at least for three months to ensure the supplement has enough time to aid the body in rebuilding the damaged tissues.
These tips should help pet owners in ensuring proper joint health in their dogs as they develop osteoarthritis in their later years of life.